All women have different opinions and perspectives when it comes to how men treat us – the men in our family and friend groups – the men we pass on the street – and the men we work with. Lady truck drivers, too, have varying experiences when it comes to their treatment in a male-dominated industry. Although women make up only about 7 percent of truck drivers, according to the National Transportation Institute, more and more are hitting the road.
I recently had the privilege of riding along with a truck driver here in Pennsylvania named Patty. Patty is fairly new to the industry, joining first as a team driver and now enjoying the highway solo. During our drive, Patty and I talked about all kinds of things. She explained her process for pre-trip and post-trip inspection. We chatted about all the things you need to keep your eye on as you’re driving and how to operate the truck. She also explained the challenges in backing up and the annoyance of traffic and delivery delays. Most importantly, we talked about lady truck drivers and what it’s like for her specifically on the road. Patty shared some realities with me and now I’ll share them with you! I hope any women out there who are considering joining the industry can benefit from Patty’s perspective.
The Reality for Lady Truck Drivers, According to Patty
Don’t be intimidated.
The biggest thing I took away from riding along with Patty is to not be intimidated – by the men or the big truck. Being alone on the road is less scary than you think. There’s a certain power that comes with controlling such a large vehicle on the highway. You’ll get to see amazing sunrises and sunsets, and trucking is a lucrative and consistent career path. Sure, it may be weird getting used to sleeping alone in the cab or having to find parking in a desolate truck stop in the middle of the Great Plains. However, you adjust and eventually the unfamiliar will all look familiar.
Most of the time, men don’t care.
From what Patty has experienced, men don’t usually treat her any differently than they do the other “guys” on the road. In fact, when she was a new driver, the men who had been driving for years were friendly and helpful in assisting her in backing up. Backing up, according to Patty, was one of the hardest things to learn when it comes to becoming a truck driver. In the beginning, she wasn’t quite confident when doing it, but over time she’s getting better. All you need to do is believe in yourself and practice!
Sometimes, you’ll feel their digs.
Every once in a while, she notices a bit of discrimination on the highway. Let’s face it ladies – there’s always that one guy out there who has to give the rest a bad name. Don’t pay attention to them. You and pretty much everyone else knows that women are just as capable as men when it comes to driving a semi-truck.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Whether you’re a truck driver or not, it’s important to pay attention to your surroundings. No matter where you go alone, it’s a good idea to pay attention to who is walking in front of and behind you. The second part to that is knowing how to defend yourself if something should happen. Being aware and paying attention is different than being constantly paranoid and afraid.
The highway is calling!
Most importantly, know that there are other lady truck drivers on the road. And guess what… they want to see you out there!!! The highway is calling you. Check out the list of CDL schools available to you. After just a short time of training, you can be in your very own truck and helping to move America forward. What that time comes, you know where to find the best trucking job for you!